A kidney biopsy involves taking one or more tiny pieces (samples) of your kidney to look at with special microscopes. The microscopes make it possible to see the samples in greater detail.
The biopsy sample may be taken in one of two ways:
Percutaneous (through the skin) biopsy: a needle placed through the skin that lies over the kidney and guided to the right place in the kidney, usually with the help of ultrasound.
Open biopsy: the kidney sample is taken directly from the kidney during surgery. The kidney sample is then sent to a doctor (pathologist) who looks at it with microscopes. He or she will check for any signs of disease.
Reasons of Kidney Biopsy
Some kidney problems can often be found with blood and urine tests, a sonogram (an image made by ultrasound) or other special x-rays, and a physical exam rather than a biopsy. But in some patients with certain types of kidney disease, and those with a kidney transplant that is not working well, a correct diagnosis can only be made with a kidney biopsy.
Specific reasons to do a kidney biopsy include:
Blood in the urine (hematuria) or protein in the urine (proteinuria)
Abnormal blood test results
Acute or chronic kidney disease with no clear cause
Nephrotic syndrome and glomerular disease (which happens when the filtering units of the kidney are damaged)
A kidney biopsy may also help to find:
If a disease is getting better with treatment or if it is getting worse. It may also show a problem that cannot be cured, but can be slowed down by other therapy.
How much permanent damage has happened in the kidney.
Why a transplanted kidney is not working well and helps your doctor decide on further treatment.
A kidney tumor.